Words by David Monnich

WHAT: 13th Annual
WHEN: Fri, Oct 4th (Noon – 7pm, plus kids program 10:30am – Noon), Sat Oct 5th (11am – 7pm) & Sun Oct 6th, 2013 (11am – 7pm)
WHERE: Hellman Hollow (formerly Speedway Meadows), Lindley & Marx meadows in , , CA
COST: Free

Website w/Full Lineup || Facebook w/Full Artist Schedule

While ticket prices for music festivals have steadily increased over the past decade, ’s remains an anomaly. Nowhere else in the United States can you catch three days of music with over eighty bands and six stages for free. Thanks to the generosity of the festival’s late founder Warren Hellman, it has remained free of charge and free of commercial sponsorships since 2001. Moreover, attendees may also bring food and alcoholic beverages (no hard alcohol & no glass containers). Although Hellman passed away a little over two years ago, he left an endowment ensuring that the festival will continue in its current state for years to come. This year marks the festival’s thirteenth anniversary, and the lineup is as strong and diverse as ever.

The Felice Brothers
Friday’s performances will only be held on three out of the six stages and feature a heavy emphasis on indie-folk artists, including , who will be curating and headlining the Rooster Stage, , , and . The Southwest desert ensemble will headline the Arrow Stage. Noteworthy bluegrass acts during the day include progressive innovators Seldom Scene and the Bluegrass Band featuring Tibetan vocalist Yungchen Lhamo. compliments the sunset with a performance on the Banjo Stage.

gets into full swing on Saturday with headlining sets by Texas artists & The Dukes, The Flatlanders (, ), , and East LA Chicano rockers in celebration of their 40th anniversary. Other highlights from the day include folk rock innovators Mike Scott & Steve Wickham of , , and Paul Kelly. Bluegrass aficionados can get their fix with Tim O’Brien featuring & Mike Bub, , , and Holler Down the Hollow: A Salute to the Masters.

String Cheese Incident @ Greek Theatre Los Angeles 7/13/12

If you can only make it to one day of Hardly Strictly, respect the Sabbath and come on out Sunday. featuring vocalist bring their humor and virtuosity to the Banjo Stage for a mid-day show. Other bluegrass performers include , , and the legendary Ralph Stanley & The Clinch Mountain Boys. , The , and & close out the festival. Also, be sure to check out The , , and Allah-las in the early afternoon.

Previous articleWATCH: Arcade Fire on Saturday Night Live
Next articlePHOTOS / RECAP: Phosphorescent @ The Fillmore, San Francisco 9/28/13